Submitted by Anne Landman on
On February 28, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer premiered a TV series called "Made in America" that ostensibly encourages viewers to buy American-made products to help spur U.S. job growth. In the first episode, a reporter tours the home of an average American family, discovering that most of the family's belongings were made in foreign countries. To illustrate how remiss the family has been in buying American, a moving crew takes everything out of the house that is made in a foreign country. The crew rips out the family's stove, carts off their furniture, beds and refrigerator, and takes virtually everything in the home away except a small vase with a flower in it. The family returns, shocked, to see their empty home. The series blames consumers for not purchasing American-made products, while failing to mention how major American corporations choose to manufacture their products overseas. Also unmentioned is the fact that ABC's parent company, Disney, manufactures toys, including Mickey Mouse memorabilia and other goods, in Chinese factories. The show obscures the fact that consumers don't choose where the products offered in their local stores are made, and doesn't discuss the limited American-made products offered at ubiquitous big-box appliance, electronics, furniture, drug and toy stores.
Anonymous replied on Permalink
ABC's Made in America
They also ignore the role of US trade policy over the last 30-40 years.
The lowering of tariffs on goods coming into the country leaving workers with good paying factory jobs here vulnerable to compete with workers overseas making a fraction of what they do, and fewer occupational safe guards and benefits
Then there are tax incentives for companies to move jobs overseas.
LuAnn Greiner replied on Permalink
Corporate outsourcing takes away consumer choice
No kidding. Not one word mentioned about the producers of those consumer goods and their CHOICE to outsource nearly everything. Do people realize that even their grocery store variety garlic comes from China!
marketingstudent replied on Permalink
more complicated than that
I don't like the narrow view offered by CNN, but the fact is, consumers control the markets by the information they give about their buying habits. Corporations spend very large amounts of money on marketing research and they stock their stores based on their findings. If the price of a product is more important to the consumer than where the product was made, stores will focus on the lowest prices which are typically foreign made.
If we want our local stores to start offering more products made or grown or developed in the United States we have to tell them that. If we just keep buying the same way and don't tell the companies when we want something different they won't know and they won't offer other goods. I have gone into a Martin's Supermarket, a Kroger, and even a small green grocer and specifically requested certain fruits and vegetables that they didn't commonly carry and within a week or two, they got the product in. Companies want to give us what we want. Their goal is happy customers who don't regret purchases. But it has to start with us. Our dollar is the power in this economy. What we do or do not buy affects the bottom line.
Because the majority of the country is more concerned with price than origin, American made goods tend to have higher prices- it's supply and demand. So switching over will cost more at first- that was the truth way back to colonial times- British goods flooded the market, American made products weren't selling well so the producers had to raise prices to meet their own needs. But as the demand rises the market will increase production to meet it and the price will stabilize. It's the ups and downs of a mixed-capitalist economy. And the starting point for every corporate decision is "what does the consumer want/need". Let's tell them!
busterfrogg replied on Permalink
ABC's Made In America
Haven't turned on local or national broadcast news in years. We don't get our information from these low grade sources, not since a bunch of "C" list hacks rigged the gas tanks to explode on the GMC pickup trucks.
wickless candles replied on Permalink
It's a balance between economics and regulation
One of the coolest lessons I learned in Economics 2000 was about the world economy and the free market. When countries specialize in what they are the most efficient and then trade between the countries the citizens of both countries standard of living raises. However regulation can interfere with this process and free market that balances supply and demand. For example: manufacturing in China and overseas is cheaper because they have less government regulations and lower wages. Because of aggressive government regulations and higher wages this increases the cost of production in the US. It is hard to have economic prosperity when you are not creating or making anything or importing more than you are exporting. This is just another point-of-view of world economics.
freefall replied on Permalink
Wickless candles, you have got to be kidding me! Free markets, supply and demand? I don't know where you went to school but let us look at the facts, the reality of the markets. Giant corporations have emerged as a result of the un-enforced laws against monopolies and other unfair business practices that were meant to protect the free markets. Price fixing, gouging, and the lack of competition has been the result. Add to that the contrived financial markets such as the futures market, derivatives, and other speculative creations of wall street. Supply and demand is totally manipulated. Free trade is an even bigger joke than the fantasy free market. What it comes down to are the so called multi national corporations exploiting workers around the world and being free to sell their slave labor goods in the largest consumer market in the world. They have no sense of patriotism like you or I because they serve the almighty dollar! Doing business in a responsible manner cuts in on their enormous profit so health, safety, environment, fairness, decency, honesty, are things which cut in on their enormous profits, which is unacceptable. When you say trade deficit, how many of those trade dollars do you think are really owed to U.S. corporations who own China, India, Mexico, the Phillipines, Japan, Russia, South America, the middle east, Africa, etc? You better wake up girl and take a look at the world around you and realize the depth of the deception they have "taught" you. The new world order is about to enslave the majority of the human race for their royal pleasure!
Anonymous replied on Permalink
Complex Issues are dumbed down so far why do they bother...
Trade and Consumerism is a vastly complex subject that a TV show or even college course can't completely cover.
Venture capitalists encourage/require outsourcing to india and china as part of any new business plan.
Walmart requires suppliers to mfg their goods overseas, preferring china, but other retailers to compete with walmart also sell imports from everywhere but the U.S.
It's nearly impossible to find anything made in the USA, I always check the labels. Costco carries a surprising amount of USA made goods though but not enough to undo the damage Walmart is doing. Target, Walmart, etc. have mostly imported chinese made low-grade products. Don't frequent a retailer that encourages offshored manufacturing, part-time employment w/o benefits and unfair business practices.
Other contributing factors to our record trade deficit is the fact that China has been buying up treasury bonds for years, $900 billion dollars and counting. They aren't doing this to be nice. They're using it for leverage and to enable our "republican" spend and charge mentality. Democrats may tax and spend but Republicans Charge and Spend and give tax credits to everyone but the middle class and poor, how unfair is that.
China's currency and banking system are controlled by the government, not the world monetary fund. They're free to alter the value of their yuan independent of world currency.
China *still* enjoys MFN (most favored nation trade status) with the U.S. They get significant benefits from this status including reduced import tariffs, etc.
China doesn't have any kind of product safety oversight. The FDA, USDA, etc. can't inspect the sheer volume of products we import globally so we get lead tainted baby food and toxic linens that don't pass U.S. required standards. People continue buying Made in China though.
Chinese mfg companies routinely copy (steal) the designs of products they make for U.S. companies with disregard for patents, copyrights, etc.
U.S. and foreign Government subsidies, tax breaks and incentives to multi-national corporations on everything from farms that overproduce corn, cotton, and other produce to textiles, car parts, etc. artificially inflate food prices and fill the coffers of corporate shareholders while undercutting competition and small family farmers here in the U.S. Can you say Monsanto?
NAFTA helps Chinese made products enter the U.S. and avoid tariffs by permitting foreign goods to mexico, mexican worker puts a sticker on the box and goods are shipped to U.S. by way of south america.
Jobs are being off-shored at a significant rate, tax loopholes, poor H1B regulations, full-time workers being replaced by temporary workers with no rights, big banks and wallstreet collapsing the housing market, erosing of worker rights and a disappearing middle class.
The U.S. education system is graduating illiterate students, republican politicitions and multi-national corporate agendas are undermining tax payer and voter voice.
No other country in the world off-shores high-paying jobs at the rate U.S. corporations are.
Once management is off-shored, we'll see the demise of free market and the middle class.
I've picked on China enough. How about India? They have a closed market for importing U.S. technologies. They export labor, import some but the majority of telecom, building, etc. are restricted imports. You cannot ship equipment directly to India without huge costs associated with them (import tariffs and gov't restrictions).
Trade is a two-way street, or should be. The multi-nationals, sell-out politicians, ignorant/apathetic consumers, tax law, import and export regulations and subsidies all contribute to job loss, consumer risk, high-costs due to low-quality goods and the rapid decline of the USA and quality of living.
I'm sure global warming, corruption, politics and collusion are also in play but that's all for now.
CJR replied on Permalink
Let's Make Some Noise
Flooring company, Mannington, has chosen to manufacture all their products- commercial and residential right here in the U.S.—creating domestic jobs and spurring the economy. One other point I mentioned in this article is products being sold in big box centers (where you will commonly find all those foreign products.) But I love the fact that Mannington has promised to never sell in big box home centers in support of the retailers.
Check out how they're making Noise in U.S manufacturing and jobs. It's simply moving!
Anonymous replied on Permalink
Our economy is driven by innovation and manufacturing. But whether we like it or not, a family thats broke or struggling to get by will cut corners. We will either buy a lesser product for a lesser price or not buy at all. Its NOT the family to blame, but its the way it is. And severely taxing imports only puts that product out of reach for that family, so dont go down that road. The idea is we have to be able to make a product that is in demand at a price that is reasonable.
Lets use the example of shoes. I have no doubt that American made footwear is better. But I too am struggling. One made in China costs $50, CHEAPEST US made is around $150. Thats not a negligible difference and impacts my ability to buy the FOOD and MEDS I need to survive. I have to buy the $50 item
. Until we understand that middle class (and below) thinks that way, the problem will be perceived as class warfare, and the better-than-thou types will continue to blame consumers. So, we have to make that shoe in the US for at least close to China made prices. Can it be done? YES, but we are so union wage driven that the item that we can make will not even be close in price. I am not saying, lets make a lesser class of worker and pay him so little. I am saying that innovation can automate that manufacturing and get us close enough, which is the only thing we are looking for. And stop blaming consumers for being broke, and doing what we have to in order to survive.